As the last novel published by Ernest Hemingway before his death, not to mention it being a Pulitzer Prize winner, one might expect for The Old Man and the Sea to be one of Hemingway's most expensive collectibles. However, by the time it was published, he had a large fan following and many knew his books would be valuable in the future, so they were saved and cared for more carefully than his earlier books might have been. The first edition of this book was also printed in 50,000 impressions to meet his fan's high demands, meaning there are first editions of the book available for collectors in a wide range of budgets.
The first edition of Old Man and the Sea, published in 1951, has the same cover as many subsequent editions: an illustration of a small fishing village perched on the edge of a wide blue sea. The first edition can be identified by the 'A' and Scribner's seal on the copyright page. Unlike many of Hemingway's other first editions, The Old Man and the Sea has no known typos to look for.
A signed first edition of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea can sell for anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, depending heavily on both the condition of the book and the level of personalization evident in the signature. Books signed to specific people, especially people personally known to Hemingway or other public figures, can increase the price dramatically. Signed older copies can also fetch several thousand dollars, as can first editions that are unsigned but in very good condition. First editions in less than optimal condition can often be found in a much lower price range, making them more accessible to collectors on a budget.
Hemingway, Ernest. My Old Man in The Best Short Stories of 1923. Small, Maynard and Company: Boston (1923). Edited By Edward J. O'Brien
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. Charles Scribner's Sons: New York (1952). Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard and C.F. Tunnicliffe
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. Jonathan Cape, London (1952). First U.K. Edition
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. Der Kval: New York (1958). Limited Edition; 1105 copies; Illustrated by Leonard Baskin In Yiddish
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. Charles Scribner's Sons: New York (1960). Signed Student Edition; Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard and C.F. Tunnicliffe
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. Easton Press: Norwalk, CT (1990). Collector's Leather Edition bound; Introduction by Charles Scribner, Jr.
Hemingway, Ernest. Old Man and The Sea. The Limited Editions Club: New York (1990). Limited Edition; 600 copies